Rewarded

Jeremiah 31: 16

Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord.

Have you ever labored in vain, or at least what seemed in vain? Are you spending time and energy right now that doesn’t seem to be bearing fruit for you? Well, God has a good word for you today. Your labor is not in vain. Your work will be rewarded.

I have to believe that God’s word is true and that as you sow, you shall reap. If you are sowing seeds with your effort, then God will produce a harvest. Right now, it may look like all hope is lost, that none appreciate the hard work you have been putting in. Maybe you have been working for a while now without the fruit of you labor showing. God is not a man that He should lie. Your seed must bear fruit. It is the way the universe was created. Maybe you don’t think your boss appreciates you or that anyone even notices how hard you have been working. Maybe not even your spouse knows about the sleepless nights you have had because of thinking about a project and how you can improve it. There is one, however, who sees all you have done, all you are doing. God is a witness to your hard work and dreams.

When God gives us a dream and a vision, we are propelled into a state which almost feels like a parallel dimension. We see so clearly what could be and throw the full force of our dreams and our energy into following God’s plan. We must pray and stay on His track. We must partner with Him, letting Him guide us. Then, no matter what happens, keep your faith in your vision and your God. Don’t be sidetracked by what mere men do. This is between you and Yahweh. Leave the results to him. Just focus your eyes on him and do all that is in your heart to do. Let the Lord, your God be your rewarder. He promises, “Your work will be rewarded.”

State of Being

Jeremiah 30: 17

“For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds,” declares the Lord.

There are many healing verses and stories in the Bible. The aspect of this one that is useful is that it addresses wounds. In this verse, God does not only contemplate illness, but injuries as well. If you have an injury rather than a sickness, you may like this verse.

Our bodies were designed for health and healing. They were engineered by Yahweh to heal. I can prove it to you. Have you ever had a paper cut? Do you still have it? What happened? Did you have to go to the doctor and have it sutured? Did you even put medicine on it? Why is that important? Some people, especially people who feel “old”, expect to keep any dis-ease they develop. They just say, “Oh, I guess I will have to take medicine for this the rest of my life.” Well, it’s time to stop guessing and be Christ led, i.e. make your thoughts and words agree with Jesus.

God said he would restore you to health. Why then should we accept injuries, wounds and sickness as a state of being? The state God recognizes in this verse is “health.” When He said He would restore us, because of the implication of the word restore, God intends to put us back in the state we should be in. He will “restore” us to “as we should be.” Surely, the first phrase of this verse relates to any kind of disturbance in our health.

The verse goes on to include restoration from wounds, and I like to mentally include the word “injuries.” We can be restored from injuries and that is important to consider, even ponder. Not only can we be restored but it is God’s intention. He is a healing God. While most of us recognize that, few of us truly expect Him to visit healing upon our bodies.

Shake the cobwebs off your brain and begin to expect, even require, God not to be a liar. If He said it, then let us expect Him to be true to His word. Our unbelief is all that is stopping Him. He has made His will clear. Now, let’s get in agreement with Him and get healed. Be restored to full health in Jesus’ name!

Awe Inspiring

Psalm 65: 2, 5          TPT

You are the God who answers prayer; all of humanity comes before you with their requests. You answer our prayers with amazing wonders and with awe-inspiring displays of power. You are the righteous God who helps us like a father. Everyone everywhere looks to you, for you are the confidence of all the earth, even to the farthest islands of the sea.

Even people who don’t know God, even people who say they don’t believe there is a God, know whom to call when the chips are down. I like to say, “There are no atheists in the oncology ward.” While that may not be 100% true, it is substantially true. When it comes down to the real issues of life, people know who to turn to in the time of need. Even people who have never been taught about a God, instinctively turn to Him because inside of each of us is embedded the truth. We know there is a God and we turn to Him to answer prayers.

Everything that has breath will praise God. The complete truth of His deity will reign gloriously over the earth. There will be none who deny the truth of His existence and His divinity. We shall all revel in that day, but you can have a piece of it now. This psalm is a good place to meditate and as you do you may even feel the glory of who He is welling up in your heart. Your breath may catch a little and then you realize that this benevolent, beatific God is your very own Father; your love and best friend. It does snatch the breath away. He who created all the galaxies and universes, wants, more than anything, to walk with you today. He wants to answer your prayers and lead you to success and liberty.

David knew Him as the one who answers prayers with displays of His power. The Father wants to show Himself to each of us just as He did to David. He wants to be our strong right hand and our ever present helper. That is pretty amazing.

Let yourself fall a little deeper today. Not just deeper in love but deeper into your inner-self and your relationship with Him. Think about the words from these verses and let them give you encouragement and hope. The God who answers prayers; the God of all humanity is waiting to visit with you today.

Ashamed

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

To fully appreciate this verse you have to first remind yourself what salvation means to the Jewish writer. Salvation to the Jew is much broader than our narrow view. Many people think of salvation only in terms of not having to spend eternity in hell. Yes, that’s part of it but to God and to Paul salvation would be akin to Shalom. It means that we are saved in every aspect of our lives. And that clearly means the here and now.

To a person that is sick, the gospel is the good news about a healing God. To a person with an addiction, it means released from the bondage of that substance. Salvation is applicable in a marriage, in your emotions, and truly, every aspect of life. So, the good news about any brokenness is the gospel.

Paul was not ashamed to tell people the good news when he saw their lives broken. He knew that the good news about Jesus would save them from financial devastation, from a broken heart, would heal their bodies and their relationships. He wasn’t ashamed to let people know that falling in love with Jesus would be good news for their bodies, souls and spirits.

He also recognized that both the Jews and the Greeks needed to hear the good news about Jesus’ restorative power. To my way of thinking, I could say, we need to share the good news about how Jesus can touch a person right now to both Christians and non-Christians. Too often we think salvation is only for those who have never met Jesus but there are a lot of hurting Christians who need to be reminded that God loves them and has healing power in His wings. The need to be reminded the God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit have very present power for everyday problems.

Yahweh is an everyday God. Jesus is the good news about every problem we face this day. His earthly ministry and sacrifice did way more than just assure us a place in heaven. He came to earth to give us abundant life right here and right now. That is salvation, that is Shalom – nothing missing, nothing broken.

When you see someone hurting, whether a Christian or not, share the good news of the gospel with them. It is power. If you can’t quote scripture, just tell them the good news that God loves them, Jesus loves them, and the Holy Spirit has been sent into the earth to help them with their problems today. Pray with them, pray for them. Encourage them to start reading the Bible and hearing the good news for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to share the gospel with them for it is the power of God, it is the power they need for their hurts and injuries.

Placement

Psalm 16:8

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Did you know you have a choice in where God exists in your life? David was the one who set the Lord before Him and at His right hand. Where do you want God? David put God where He was always in sight. That was how he combatted the fear which could have so easily overwhelmed him. It is how he had the confidence and faith that his enemies would be vanquished. Every day, he saw problems in the light of God with him. He saw God every time he looked up and the enormity of his God made his problems shrink.

The beauty of this is that you can put God wherever you want. You choose! Is He in His throne room? Is He hovering over the earth on a cosmic cloud? Or do you decide to have Him seated right next to you? David said that because God was at his right hand, he could not be shaken. Sometimes it pays to keep Yahweh close to you. It’s good to have His power right beside you. It’s good just having His presence there because His presence reminds you of all that He is. It boosts your confidence. His presence with you reminds you of who you are in Him.

It’s wonderful to visit the Lord in His throne room. I highly recommend it but don’t lock Him up in there. His plan was to be with you. You are His temple, remember. He wants to walk every step with you. Today.

Peace

John 14: 27           TPT

I leave the gift of peace with you – my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous!”

There is no version of this verse which is not excellent. I chose the Passion Translation because it makes clear that Jesus gave us the gift of peace, his own peace he gave to us. Not only is it superior to the peace the world has to offer, it is perfect. Imagine that – perfect peace. See yourself in perfect peace.

Now, if Jesus has given us this perfect peace why would we let anyone steal it from us. That is the point I want to make today. Don’t let anything or anyone steal your peace. It is Jesus’ gift to you.

I have known people who aren’t happy unless they are upset. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but you probably know someone like that too. No matter how things are in their lives, they find a reason to be upset – either angry, hurt, sad, etc. That’s craziness if you ask me. Why does anyone want to live that way?

Here is the reality. Being angry, worried, injured, offended; all these things steal our lives from us. Peace is where we find health and wholeness. Every minute we spend in turmoil is hazardous to our bodies. Why should we let some goofball steal minutes of life and health from us?

Sometimes you need to change your associations. I like my friends at the YMCA I attend because they are uplifting, positive people. They are intentional about edifying others, not tearing them down. So, it is a good group to be associated with. There are other people you can’t get away from easily, such as co-workers or family. You may sometimes need to, kindly, let people know what you will accept and what you will not. I don’t like to be a party to gossip. It is an insidious habit that can easily suck me in, so, I try to break off conversations that head in that direction and I will just tell the person I am with that I don’t like to get into that. It is a sin after all and one that I know would be all too easy for me.

The greatest tool for maintaining your peace, though, is the quiet time you share with Jesus. That time seems to reinforce the gift of peace he gave us. It is easy to get upset with someone but if you value Jesus’ peace it makes it much easier to hang on to it in the crunch. And remember, one of the reasons we should hang on to peace is for our health. None of us wants our heart affected by someone else’s junk invading our peace. There is no health issue that is desirous, yet so many of them begin in the stress that we allow other people to create in our emotions.

Make the peace of Jesus a sacred part of your soul. Be jealous of it and don’t let anyone steal it from you.

Wall of Separation

Isaiah 58: 3

Why have we fasted and thou dost not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and Thou dost not notice?

This is an age old question. Father, we are doing what we should do. Behold our righteousness. Yet, you are far off. You do not hearken to the voice of your people. Why is the Almighty God silent and impotent?

I love the book of Isaiah. He shows us that each one of us is Zion. We are that piece of the nation of Israel encapsulated in the guise of one person. As Isaiah speaks about the nation of Israel, our own names ring through the heavens. We are Israel. We are Zion. We have been given the keys to the Kingdom and the responsibility that goes with them.

One of Israel’s obvious problems was their favorable impression of their own righteousness. We are doing everything right Father. See our fast. See us in church every week. Why is God not answering our prayers? Anytime we rely on our own rightness, rather than the goodness of the Lord, we have immediately gone the way of pagans. Though we may not intend to hold our righteousness up to God in a demand for service, we so often do just that in subtle ways.

The Holy Spirit, through Isaiah offers additional answer. We have an uncomfortable way of isolating God by our actions. In Chapter 59, verse 2 Isaiah wrote, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God. And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.” Doesn’t that chill your bones? People don’t like to hear pastors talk about sin and iniquity, but the truth is that many of us have things that we are doing, or not doing, that keep us from approaching God openly. Our own guilt drives a wedge between us. Maybe we didn’t spend enough time in our Bibles last week and feel guilty because of it. That guilt can be deep down in a person’s soul such that they are hardly aware of it in their mind. It separates them from God though.

Jesus took all of our sin upon himself so that we could commune with the Father. However, whatever we are doing or not doing, that convicts our souls will separate us from God. One strategy people employ is to keep moving so fast, stay so busy, never take the time to slow down and meditate or quietly be with God so that we never feel the sting of our shortcomings. They stay buried deeply enough that our shallowly lived life is immune. Unfortunately, those buried truths are a hazard to our health, our relationships and of course, our relationship with the Father.

If you feel like the Father is far away, ask yourself if you are isolating Him by some action of your own. Ask yourself if you have guilt embedded in your soul. Is there sin putting a wall of division between you? Notice in the scripture that it is we who have separated ourselves from God. Not the other way around. He is waiting for you to clear up what is in your soul so that you can hang out together. He loves you more than you can even comprehend. Do some soul searching and make sure there is nothing separating you from your beloved.